Veganism adrift – Why we shouldn’t be so quick to praise “vegan” celebrities

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Painting by Ludolf Bakhuizen

As a vegan, I am angry. I am angry because the word “vegan” has been diluted to near meaninglessness by weight-obsessed pseudo-vegan celebrities, and the cult-like adulation they receive from a large part of the vegan(or rather “plant-based”) community. It seems every time a celebrity goes on a mostly plant-based diet purely for vanity reasons, the usual suspects promote them as the ultimate vegan role model. As a way to promote veganism, this approach pretty much always backfires for the vegan community, at least for those who do it for the animals(as if there are other types of vegans; more on that latter). The foolishness of this spectacle is nauseating for vegans who know better.

It turns out that Beyoncé, the “vegan” role model du jour doesn’t just wear fur, she still still eats meat. A “vegan” who eats meat? Personally, I always thought the fur thing and the fact that she said she was doing it simply for weight-loss disqualified her from having anything to do with veganism. Still, this didn’t stop the vegan non-thinkers brigade from proclaiming Beyoncé as the new vegan idol.

Many vegan activists claim when celebrities go vegan or near-vegan, even though it is almost always temporary, insincere, and not for ethical reasons, this helps spread the word about veganism. I see things very differently. It’s already a lost cause if the veganism the celebrity is promoting is a temporary crash diet motivated purely by vanity or health reasons, since that isn’t what veganism is about in the first place. It’s not just a fad diet, it’s a lifestyle concerned with reducing animal suffering and is a life-long commitment. Or at least, that’s what it used to be about, before the plant-based health-nutters appropriated the term “vegan”. While I realize there’s a lot of overlap between health-conscious people and ethical eaters, this doesn’t change the meaning of “vegan”. Of course, if a celebrity does go vegan for ethical reasons, that’s great, and they could be useful for promoting the vegan lifestyle.

The only things these celebrity worshiping antics accomplish are confusion and further diluting the message of veganism. Ultimately, vegan celebrities make unreliable role models because all-too-often, they revert to their old meat-eating ways, giving the impression that veganism is difficult to stick to. And this isn’t just a hazard of health veganism, since some ethical vegans may also give up on veganism for whatever reason.

In the very least, I think the semantic issues could easily be resolved if people who go “vegan” exclusively for health reasons called themselves “plant-based” or “strict-vegetarian”; leave “vegan” for ethical eaters. It is, in essence, a word that describes an ethical lifestyle, not just a diet.

Kids and acrobatics

AcroYoga pose called Hangle Dangle. Source: Earl McGehee

Acroyoga pose called Hangle Dangle. Source: Earl McGehee

I don’t have any kids of my own, but if I did, I would take their physical education as seriously as their intellectual development. After all, active kids are not only healthy kids, they generally tend to do better in school. This is why athletics are so important for kids and adults alike.

In order to get more kids interested in fitness, we should broaden what we consider to be athletics. The focus in schools is often on boring old calisthenics, team sports or track, and I think this is very limiting. I believe widening the scope of athletics to include acrobatics can help kids find the fitness activity that is right for them. It can also accommodate children who are not inclined to play team sports for whatever reason. If kids aren’t having fun with what they’re doing, they won’t stick to it. Many people don’t see acrobatics as athletic, but I do. How are the abilities of trapeze artists, tight-rope walkers, or jugglers not athletic?

What is probably the biggest stumbling block to wider acceptance of acrobatics as athletics is acrobatics close association with the circus. This association is unfortunate since the world of acrobatics offers so many fun ways to stay fit that can either be the mainstay of you or your child’s athletic routine, or a supplement to it. And before anyone mentions it, I am not recommending you or your kids take up acrobatic daredevilry.

Juggling is arguably the best gateway to this world, and it’s a safe(unless you juggle chainsaws), fun athletic activity in and of itself. It’s definitely a step forward that more schools are including juggling and acrobatics in their physical education programs. Acroyoga is another excellent way to practice acrobatics. Not surprisingly, juggling and/or acrobatics is linked with improved academic scores. The more options kids have when it comes to athletics, the better.

A Spring Breakthrough

The Old Croton Aqueduct Trail several weeks ago

The Old Croton Aqueduct Trail several weeks ago

It’s an understatement to say that the winter we just experienced here in the northern U.S was especially brutal. As soon as one wicked snow storm passed through, another quickly followed, often dumping several more inches of snow on the several inches already on the ground. To make matters worse, the extreme cold greatly slowed the melting process, seemingly making large snow mountains permanent features of the landscape. For all the problems the snow caused, it was often beautiful to look at.

As snowy and brutal as it was, I managed to defy Old Man Winter’s ruthlessness. Isn’t the whole point of fitness being able to meet a challenge anyway? So I managed to joggle for hundreds of miles, mostly by running in loops around the few precious areas where the snow was cleared. At times the brutally cold wind sounded like Old Man Winter was laughing, but I persevered.

The snow, ice and very cold air greatly slowed me down, but Screenshot from 2015-04-17 11:36:25I figured that my persistence would eventually pay off once spring arrived, and I was right. At first I merely wanted to match my pace from autumn of last year, but I did better than expected and joggled a half-marathon in 1:39:17, my first sub 1:40 half-marathon or 13.1. I dropped twice. This wasn’t even a race, it was a training run. Sure, I’m not nearly as fast as Michael Kapral(1:20:40 half-marathon), who was recently featured in Runner’s World for his incredible joggling achievements, but it’s an improvement for me.

To improve my speed, I didn’t drastically alter my diet(vegan as always) or training, or take any supplements, except that I am doing less upper body strength work these days. I think once a week is better than twice. All the hill training I do is really just a form of strength-training for the legs.

Let this be a lesson to everyone that persistence pays, when it comes to running or anything else in life.

The RunSafe story

The following is a guest post by Sam Voss about the RunSafe App:
When I first started writing for Sharif and Violet Alexandre from RunSafe I knew that they had a cool product, but I didn’t know the story behind it; and I honestly didn’t know what made them create the RunSafe App.
 

Well, now that I know, I think it’s a tale worth telling.

This is the story a mother-runner, a techie, and an idea to change the way runners feel about safety – this is the story of the RunSafe App!

THE RUN:

FamilyViolet, Sharif, and their son Christopher on a morning walk!

It started when Violet Alexandre, the co-founder of premium app-maker RunSafe, called Sharif, her husband and other co-founder of RunSafe, and confirmed his biggest fears.

“That moment will be forever etched in my soul.” Sharif recalls of that day.

The two of them and their young son, Christopher, had just uprooted from Philadelphia and moved to Boulder, Colorado where Violet, “as a non-native,” was still getting acclimated to the new area and exploring different running trails.

“You get on a path,” she explained, “and end up in back areas, and it is really hard to have a sense of where you are.

“There had been a snow storm two days prior,” she illustrated for me in an email, “[and] I was still a little unsure of the various paths.

“I approached an underpass,” she continued, “but I had never run quite that far out on this particular route before and I was contemplating turning around very shortly, and it was almost like on cue at that moment when I was thinking about turning around that I slipped on some black ice.”

Thats when she called.

“I remember her stammering, clearly shaken, letting me know she slipped on some black ice, fell hard and lost control of the stroller.

“I’ve always been concerned about her outdoor runs,” explained Sharif to me in an email, “since she would often go alone in the early morning when it was still dark.And after our son was born and was old enough to be in the stroller I had concerns about them getting hurt in some form or another.”

Yet, he conceded, “knowing her passion for running I knew nothing was going to stop her.”

“So when you first heard from Violet,” I asked, “what was your initial reaction?”

“It was almost too much to take in. Was she OK? Was the baby OK? Where were they? Was anyone around to help?” He was fearing the worst.

“I knew Boulder Creek was directly to my left,” remembered Violet, “and that if the stroller got out of control it would mean my son would fall into a frozen creek. I recall my heart pounding extremely loud in my chest.

“I had the safety strap on my wrist so as I began falling I remember gripping it as tightly as possible. After that, everything is very blurry.

“By some act of God and my holding onto that strap for dear life,” she explained at length, “I was able to keep relative control of the stroller. Christopher never woke up. I got banged up pretty bad. I tore a big hole in my pants and bloodied my hands too.”

Sharif recalls her telling him that “she was bruised pretty badly but assured me that she and the baby were OK to make their way home.”

Needless to say, this disastrous fall could have been much worse, and was still much too close for comfort.

“As a ‘techie’,” Violet wrote “Sharif was immediately seeking solutions so that the next time we went running he would feel more confident.”

runsafeTHE BIRTH OF AN APP:

“After they came home,” he described to me, “we started talking about how we could prevent something like this from happening in the future.

“I knew I couldn’t stop her from running,” he admitted, “so that wasn’t really an option. It was all about making sure that she was safe on her runs and if something did happen, that we were fully prepared to handle whatever emergency came up.

“When I was looking for apps already out there, what I found were basically what I call glorified panic buttons. They might make a sound or send an alert but that was about it.

“If our app was actually going to be useful to prevent future accidents,” Sharif continued, “its first feature was that it needed to be relevant enough to the person using it so that they would be motivated to use it on a regular basis.

“In this case [for every runner to want to use it regularly] it meant that the app needed to have basic fitness features to track distance, time, pace, etc.”

“My husband was practically instantly activated into action,” Violet recounted.

“As for actual safety features,” he detailed, “the app performs three core functions to help prevent, act, and respond to emergencies.”

With a background in enterprise-level technical architecture, Sharif has had experience working with servers and databases that power both mobile and web applications in different devices, but has never before developed the front-end, user interface that so well embodies the RunSafe App. However, “having that background is what enabled me to build all the safety features that are in the app,” says Sharif.

3 PILLARS OF SAFETY:

“The three core pillars of safety – including “Waze” reporting, “Instant Amber Alert” and the PANIC Button are all included in the app,” Sharif explained.

  • The “Waze for Runners,” as Sharif outlines it, is the app feature that prevents accidents. “It would’ve been great if Violet was alerted that she was approaching an are with black ice so that she could’ve avoided it altogether (or the app could have re-routed her),” but there wasn’t an app with that function yet.
  • The action phase of the app includes all of the app’s built-in alert and notification features, like the PANIC Button, that help connect the runner with an emergency contact in the event of an accident.
  • And as far as the responsive attributes, Sharif chose to create an “Instant Amber Alert” page. “This page can be shared with the contact’s network and serves as a communication hub for all the information that comes in for tips, searchers, etc. Response is giving the contact(s) a means to quickly mobile a search and rescue effort once the emergency is deemed to be real,” said Sharif.

A Boulder-based app making company that started in late 2014, the RunSafe App was designed by Sharif, and the business itself is managed by both he and his wife, Violet. The RunSafe App is a premium safety app, that not only acts as a virtual running buddy, but is also equipped with all of the fitness tracking features you would expect from a GPS-integrated running app.

After his wife, Violet, suffered this terrible fall while running one day near their home, the idea to make this safety-focused app became a reality.

“I realized in a very real way how much I take my safety for granted,” voiced Violet in an email, “but the incident really made me wonder what I could do to be safer and more responsible.

“With RunSafe,” she clarified, “I know now that if something goes wrong I have a life line. I have someone on the other side who knows where I am and can come help if I need it.”

As Sharif recalled fondly, “Violet has been a runner ever since I knew her, and I still do worry about her whether or not she runs with Christopher.

The difference is that I feel better prepared to handle an emergency if, God forbid, another one happens.

“With these features,” Violet said, “RunSafe can not only fit the need of keeping individuals and our community safe, but through it, hopefully we can educate and bring awareness about the need to be safe while running as well.”

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If you want to download their app for free straight on your phone just text “Hi” to 720-548-2390or follow the link here!

I have to thank Chris for hosting this blog post on his site, and the co-founders of RunSafe, Violet and Sharif, for sharing their story with me! I hope you guys enjoyed the article!

Sam VossAlong with founding and writing for Runnerstongue.com, Sam Voss writes for RunSafe.me. While looking for a new fitness app to track his runs and share his workouts with friends, he stumbled upon the RunSafe App, and later got in touch with the co-founders, Violet and Sharif, in late 2014. Since then, he has been writing for both blogs, contributing to content marketing on other forums, and composing articles on running, tips, and reviews for everything runner-related. Along with being an avid runner and writer, Sam also enjoys hiking and biking in his free time. Check out more from Sam on Twittter and on the RunSafe Blog!

Coffee and Health

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I live in a world fueled by coffee. As a non-coffee drinker, this can make me feel left out at times. Then again, I’ve always thrived off of being the outsider. The ritual of coffee drinking seems so foreign to me at times that I feel like an alien visiting another planet.

As much as I don’t care for coffee or caffeine, there’s no denying that there are some possible benefits to it that go beyond being a chemical stimulant. These other potential benefits of course aren’t the main reason countless people drink coffee the first thing in the morning. After all, when was the last time you heard an earthling say “I just have to drink coffee every morning to prevent liver disease!”? Here are some more possible benefits of coffee and/or caffeine: What are the health benefits of coffee?

That’s an impressive list, though it must be stressed that the evidence for the benefits of coffee is still mostly preliminary. Sometimes things get confusing when coffee and caffeine are conflated, though they are two different things. Some studies show coffee but not caffeine has health benefits, and vice versa.

For all its supposed miraculous benefits, there’s also the downside to caffeine, which is not surprising since it is, in essence, a stimulant drug. Sure, this extremely popular alkaloid is not in the same class as nicotine, or cocaine, but it can be problematic for many people, even if not consumed in excess. Here’s a great info-graphic from Healthline: The Effects of Caffeine on the Body

The negative effects aren’t that scary, but a lot of people could benefit from kicking their caffeine habits, or at least cutting down.

My Position on Rawfoodism

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If I had to name one thing that has been bugging me lately about the vegan movement, it would have to be rawfoodism*. It should go without saying that this is health veganism taken to unnecessary extremes, born out of pseudo-science, perfectionism, and mythology. Not only does it do nothing to help animals, it does nothing to help improve the health of rawfoodists themselves or anyone for that matter.

Some rawfoodists I’ve met believe they’ve finally found the holy grail of healthy eating and they are not letting go. So fanatical are some of them, they believe any vegan who eats any amount of cooked foods are “poisoning” themselves, and deserve to be mocked as the vegan lepers that they truly are. If you get into an argument with one, expect a torrent of pithy slogans like “cooked food is poison!” in lieu of anything of substance. The foundation of almost all rawfoodist dogma is the naturalistic fallacy, which basically means anything natural is “good”, and anything unnatural is “bad”.

Truth be told, there is virtually no science to support the idea that 100% vegan rawfoodism is the healthiest diet. With science offering no support, vegan rawfoodist gurus and super-athletes have created a powerful mythos of seemingly compelling anecdotes for the proponents of the rawfood cult. While very few rawfoodists are as holy, uh, I mean as healthy as the high priests they emulate, they believe if they “detoxify” and “revitalize” their body’s cells long enough by eating raw foods, they too can achieve super health.

Never mind all those pesky plant toxins that are largely destroyed by cooking, or the fact that many foods are more digestible when cooked, that’s all corporate propaganda to the rawfoodist. To the rawfoodist, perfect health isn’t a fantasy, it is something that can be attained if you eat 100% raw 100% of the time.

The reality is that perfect health is a chimera, and there is no such thing as a “perfect” diet. Anyone trying to sell you a “perfect” diet is a charlatan. Rawfoodism is a fad, and one that is potentially harmful to veganism. It is also harmful to people with serious diseases who choose going raw vegan to treat their condition and end up dying due to lack of proper medical treatment. Veganism, raw or cooked, doesn’t necessarily make you super-healthy, and shouldn’t be promoted as such. That’s not what veganism is truly about in the first place. Its essence is about compassion for all life, and extreme, overly strict, overly complicated, pseudo-scientific approaches to vegan dieting can only hurt our efforts at helping animals. Veganism should be informed by science, not pseudo-science.

I realize this post may puzzle some people. My only aim with this blog and my joggling is to show that a well-balanced vegan diet is adequate for just about anyone, including athletes. The idea that a vegan or vegan rawfood diet can take you to a level of health and super-athleticism that is only attainable by vegans or vegan rawfoodists is preposterous, and not something I believe in. If there is one thing the vegan movement needs a lot more of, it’s critical thinking.

* I realize that not all rawfoodists are vegan; some drink raw milk, consume honey or other animal products. This post concerns both rawfoodism in general, and vegan rawfoodism in particular since the health claims and motivations are very similar. Many rawfoodists started out as vegans, and saw raw veganism as the next logical step in making their diet healthier.

Related articles:

Raw Veganism

Raw Food Vegan Diets

Raw Or Cooked Foods: Which is The Best Diet for Vegans?

Raw Credulity

Beyond Vegetarianism

The Hippocrates Health Institute: Cancer quackery finally under the spotlight, but will it matter?

The New Dietary Guidelines and Running versus Joggling

It seems almost everyone I know is talking about the new dietary guidelines. In large part, this is because they significantly depart from the old recommendations, such as eating a low-fat diet to reduce heart disease risk. This is no longer recommended, since science has found that the type of fat is more important than total fat. They still recommend reducing saturated fat, and reducing meat and animal food consumption to help achieve this. They also recommend reducing animal food consumption for environmental reasons.

Ultimately, what do the new recommendations mean for vegans? Ginny Messina RD has written an excellent post on the new dietary recommendations, The 2015 Dietary Guidelines, What Will They Mean for Vegans?, and I suggest you read it. Her most important point, which I am in full agreement with:

It doesn’t really impact my own advocacy for animals, though. I know very well that findings on nutrition and health are always changing. I know that nutrition research is far more conflicting than concurring. And I don’t see much point to building advocacy around facts that may change tomorrow.

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On the subject of joggling, Alex Hutchinson has written an interesting article titled Brain Plasticity in Endurance vs Skill Sports in Runner’s World. Actually, the article doesn’t mention anything about joggling or juggling, but the study he cites implies some extra benefits for joggling over running. I’ve always wanted to know if skill sports were better for brain plasticity than endurance sports, and it seems this article tentatively suggests they are. Of course, any aerobic exercise is good for the brain, but it appears that dancing, or figure skating(or any exercise that involves more complex “gross motor skills”) may provide some extra benefits over running. The same could probably be said about joggling, though I must admit that I am very biased. I also suspect that trail running may be slightly more beneficial for brain plasticity than road running.

So when it comes to exercise, go beyond just trying to improve your endurance or speed, try challenging your coordination and balance in novel ways. The more you learn, the easier it is to learn new tasks, and the better it is for your brain.

Update: Alex Hutchinson wrote an even more interesting follow-up article to the article posted above a few weeks later titled Fighting Cognitive Decline with Dodgeball and Juggling. In this follow-up, he actually does mention juggling as an example of an exercise that involves “gross motor skills” that may provide additional brain benefits over endurance exercise, but not joggling. He wrote this follow-up after he got an email from Nicholas Berryman(a physiologist at the Quebec National Institute of Sport) in response to the first article, who cited 3 scientific papers.

While the cognitive benefits of cardio, and strength training to a lesser extent are already established, and their mechanisms largely understood(increased blood-flow to the brain and increased nerve growth factors when it comes to cardio) according to Hutchinson:

What Berryman pointed out is preliminary evidence for a third mechanism, triggered by gross motor training – things like balance and coordination training, or even learning skills like juggling.

While this is all very fascinating, it is already known that learning just about any skill causes changes in the brain. Learning certain skills, like learning a new language, or learning to play an instrument, is associated with preventing or slowing cognitive decline in many studies. This leads to the question: Does juggling benefit the brain in ways that cardio alone can’t? Besides this, does learning gross motor skills that involve improvements in coordination and balance(juggling, or rock-climbing), benefit the brain more than learning to play an instrument, or learning to play chess?

As Hutchinson points out, the preliminary evidence for additional benefits of gross motor skills is encouraging. However, in the mean time, we shouldn’t have to wait for definitive answers before taking dance or juggling lessons, or going on a rock climbing adventure, if only for the fun of it.

The Looper Bowl 2015

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As I am sure many of you already know, an adventurous guy like me doesn’t usually take it easy during the winter. I see the harsh winter weather as the perfect opportunity to toughen myself as a runner. By the time spring comes around, I feel all but unstoppable. Of course, running in the snow isn’t for everyone, and there are lots of other ways to improve your running. Be very careful out there if you’re new to winter running.

With the zest for winter adventure in me, I decided to run(not joggle) the Looper Bowl yet again. The Looper Bowl 10k is a free yearly event that takes place at 8 AM on Super Bowl Sunday up at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. It follows the “Leatherman’s Loop”, a trail that snakes its way through the forest while going up and down some mighty hills. In fair weather it is challenging enough, but about 30 of us did it in the snow while it was just over zero degrees. Besides being much colder compared to last year, this year there was often several inches of snow on the trail. Also unlike last year I wasn’t recovering from a knee injury.

I must admit that it was so cold and the deep snow so intimidating I almost didn’t do it. My hands and my feet were so cold they felt like they were going to fall off, even though I had on heavy gloves, thick socks and 2 winter hats and multiple layers. I felt like I was going to get frost-bitten, I seldom run when it is this cold. For the first 2 miles I hated being out there, but then I started warming up and felt elated over this.

After warming up, every step of the way was breathtaking winter beauty, especially when I was at the top of a big hill looking around. I usually had to walk up those hills, like most of the other runners. When going downhill, I often found it easier to just slide down them than to walk down or try running down. Although I was wearing my Kahtoola Nanospikes, they were of little help on this run. They are mainly for running on icy sidewalks or a thin layer of snow, not snowy trail running.

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The last couple of miles were serene; by then it was almost 10 F, and it felt spectacular running with like-minded winter running lunatics, inspiring each other forward. It also helps that I didn’t get lost like I did last year. For a short run, I felt pretty sore near the end, due to all the snow and hills. It felt heavenly crossing the “finish line”; running in snow for many miles produces a special kind of runner’s high. It took me 1:18 minutes to complete this 6.2 mile loop, which I think is pretty good considering all the snow and big hills on this trail. Although I found it difficult in the beginning, all in all it was a terrific experience.

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Great article about joggling in the Huff Post

The Invention of Joggling, the Goofiest Sport in History, by Kevin Bell, is one of the best articles about joggling I’ve ever read.

Not only does this Huff Post article cover the interesting history of this “goofy” sport, it also features some familiar faces who are the current super-stars of joggling. In the article, Bell describes joggling as “running while juggling”; I usually prefer to call it “juggling while running”. What do you think sounds better?

It’s always great when the sport of joggling and accomplished jogglers get the recognition they deserve.

How to joggle an entire marathon without dropping

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Although I have touched on this subject before, I keep getting asked how it is possible to joggle an entire marathon without dropping by both fellow jogglers and non-jogglers alike. Although I have only completed one marathon without dropping(I dropped at the other 2 I did), these days I can often joggle for 20 miles without dropping. I hate to sound like I’m bragging; there are other jogglers who can joggle entire marathons without dropping, and I’m not a world record holder. So what is my secret? Here is how I do it:

  1. Get plenty of practice. I usually joggle 5 days a week, which adds up to about 40 to 50 miles of joggling per week. Even on the days I don’t joggle, I practice juggling for at least 20 minutes.
  2. While joggling, relax, and always maintain your posture. Take deep breaths. Approach joggling as an active meditation. Keep movements smooth, think of it as a form of dancing, or martial arts. It’s inevitable that people will try to distract you while you’re joggling, but stay focused on what you’re doing.
  3. Strength-train your upper body. In order to build endurance in your arms to enable you to juggle for many hours, you will have to strength-train your upper body about twice a week. I mean exercises like push-ups, curls, and pull-ups. Doing a little core work like bicycle crunches or planks may help too. I find that just a few minutes is sufficient for improving muscle endurance and circulation in my arms.
  4. Occasionally practice juggling(or joggling) with heavy balls. This is almost the same thing as #3, except it combines improving muscle memory with endurance work by targeting the muscles you use for juggling. Juggling with heavy balls for a few minutes is also a great warm up exercise before joggling, since it increases circulation to your arms.
  5. When practicing juggling, work your way up to juggling 4, 5 or more balls. Just about all jogglers are 3 ball jogglers, but if you can juggle 4 or more that will help improve your arm speed and hand eye coordination. Once you can go a few minutes without dropping, try occasionally joggling with 4, 5 or more balls. I often practice with 4 balls as part of a routine I like to call “juggle chi”. It’s basically combining juggling with T’ai Chi movements.
  6. While training, learn to do lots of tricks while joggling. This will improve your hand-eye coordination and balance. At races, keep tricks to a minimum, if you’re doing them at all, unless you’re really good at them.
  7. Joggle with fruit occasionally. This can really challenge and improve your hand-eye coordination to the point that you won’t even feel like you’re joggling when you go back to joggling with regular balls. To take it to the next level, joggle with different types of fruit or fruit of different weight and do tricks with them.
  8. Do balance work. When juggling at home, stand on one leg. Better yet, juggle with heavy balls or do lots of tricks while standing on one leg while spinning around. Or combine balance work with strength training by doing planks or other exercises on an exercise(stability) ball. Balance and coordination go hand in hand, since you are more likely to drop if you are off-balance.
  9. Hit the trails, especially hilly ones. This is the ultimate joggling challenge since hilly trails can challenge everything all at once. If you can master this, joggling on flat surfaces becomes a piece of cake. Once you become proficient at this, try joggling trails with fruit or heavy balls.